Friday, July 17, 2015

What a CRAZY 2 months!!

I think I must have jinxed us when I said that nothing much was happening around here because June and July has been CRAZY!!

The last week in May, one of our biggest worries came true.  We woke up one morning in the RV and the fridge had died.  Thankfully we caught it fairly quickly and only lost the ice cream because it could have been much worse.  I quickly bagged all of our food and took it over to the RV Park clubhouse refrigerator and filled up both the fridge and freezer with our food. 

Tex and I talked last year about upgrading our Norcold brand propane/electric refrigerator to an electric only, full size 21 cubic foot residential refrigerator (double the size of the current fridge).  It was going to cost several thousand dollars so we decided to wait until the fridge died before we upgraded.  Well, that day came in late May so we were forced to make a decision.

The original Norcold refrigerator

It really wasn’t a decision that was hard to make.  There was no way we were going to put another Norcold refrigerator in the RV because they have a HUGE history of causing fires in RVs - so many in fact that there are several class action lawsuits pending against them.  Our refrigerator had a recall on it several years ago and the part was replaced but that part also failed again last summer and we had to have the same recall part installed again.  We even know of several people who had brand new motorhomes less than a month old when their Norcold fridge caught on fire.   There was no way we were going to take that chance with another Norcold fridge.

So then began the search of an RV repair company here in Seattle that could do the work – and quickly!  It didn’t help that it was in the middle of summer when everyone wanted their RV repaired.  As fate would have it, we met some new friends here last summer that had a residential fridge installed by a small, local RV repair company so I gave them a call.  Luckily, they could get us in the shop in two weeks, which was June 17th. 

The next hurdle was finding a residential fridge that could fit in the slide portion of our RV.  Because our fridge is located in the slideout, that limited us on height.  It is also right next to our couch so that limited us on width.  The tried and true and most popular model fridge with RVers is the Samsung model 197.  Unfortunately, that model is not produced anymore and the replacement model is too tall.

We finally found the Whirlpool model WRS571CIDM.  It is a side-by-side fridge with water and ice in the door.   Another great feature is that we can turn off the ice maker with an easy switch so when we are not connected to shore power, it doesn’t draw as much electricity on the batteries.   The Whirlpool model was the perfect height and width.  Luckily, Home Depot stocked it so we bought one and had it delivered to the RV shop.

Another decision we had to make was what to do for power.  By installing a residential fridge, we lose the option of powering it by propane.  This means that it always has to run on electricity.  That is ok when we are in a RV park and plugged into power but when we are driving down the road or are staying somewhere without electricity, we need to be able to have enough power to keep it running.

Our Newmar Ventana motorhome has an inverter/charger already installed but we needed to upgrade for two reasons.  One, the type of power it provides is called a “moderated sine wave” which means that the power fluctuates and it is not good for electronics, computers or electric refrigerators.  We needed a “pure sine wave” inverter that provides a steady power and is safe for the refrigerator and our computers.

Second, we needed more watts to power the fridge as well as our other power needs.  Ours was a 2000-watt and we upgraded to a 2800-watt.  We ended up purchasing a Magnum 2800-watt inverter/charger and new controller and had the RV company install them at the same time they did the fridge. 

Our next step now is to get new batteries so they can store and hold the power longer.  We have decided not to purchase the batteries yet.  We currently have 4 coach deep cell batteries that run everything when on battery power.  Since we are going to be in the RV park with electric power provided for the next 2 years, we have decided to wait until a month or so before we hit the road full time to have the new batteries installed.  That way they will be fresher and still under warranty when we leave here in 2017.

When we have the batteries replaced, we are going to add an additional 2 batteries for a total of 6 coach batteries.  We plan to buy AGM batteries because this type of battery recharges quicker and stores the power longer. 

So, there you have it!  I will post more details about our month long ordeal, the costs and where we lived during this process in my next post.

Until next time!




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